On Monday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the Constitution would have to be reinterpreted in order to curtail civil liberties to prevent terrorism. Bloomberg likened such reinterpretation to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, which he says allowed for greater gun control to preserve public safety.
At a press conference, Bloomberg stated, “The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry. But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
Bloomberg then likened his desire for more gun control to the need for more restrictions of civil liberties: “Clearly the Supreme Court has recognized that you have to have different interpretations of the Second Amendment and what it applies to and reasonable gun laws … Here we’re going to to have to live with reasonable levels of security.”
He continued, “It really says something bad about us that we have to do it. But our obligation first and foremost is to keep our kids safe in the schools; first and foremost, to keep you safe if you go to a sporting event; first and foremost is to keep you safe if you walk down the streets or go into our parks,” he said. “We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things. And the ways to do that is to provide what we think is an appropriate level of protection.”
While Bloomberg argued for reinterpreting the Constitution to allow more government power to violate the rights of all citizens, he also argued that any profiling of specific religious groups would be violative of American values. “I think one of the great dangers here is going and categorizing anybody from one religion as a terrorist. That’s not true … That would let the terrorists win. That’s what they want us to do.” So in Bloomberg’s view, the Islamist terrorists want us to crack down on Islamism by placing greater scrutiny on radical Muslims – but they will quake in their boots if we place cameras on every street corner, or change our fundamental Constitutional definitions.
Bloomberg has long been a proponent of greater government power to protect individuals from themselves. In New York City, citizens are protected against transfats, sugars, and large soft drinks. They are protected from cigarettes and guns. The only force against which they are defenseless is an overreaching government. And if the Constitution has to change to allow New York City’s policies to go national, Bloomberg is for it.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).